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10.26.13

Microsoft’s Common Carrier Dying While GNU/Linux on the Desktop Rising Because Steam Helps Eliminate Gaming Gap

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Valve

Summary: How Torvalds and Stallman view the emergence of Steam on GNU/Linux and what it means to Apple and Microsoft

MICROSOFT, which suffered major losses even in the nineties (when it was said to be ultra-wealthy), is on its way out as a monopoly in operating systems. Microsoft is not just hugely corrupt; it is an odd entity because of its financial state. It receives large subsidies from governments (in the form of contracts) and very recent NSA leaks about PRISM show a simultaneous NSA Skype takeover, coinciding with Microsoft’s purchase of the European company. A lot of businesses are created in and/or operating in losses, sometimes with government subsidies (if they have friends in government or some strong lobbying). Last year Microsoft publicly admitted losses (the key word here is “publicly”). Based on Microsoft’s own words (to investors) in a new filing [via]; “D&C Licensing revenue decreased $335 million or 7%, due mainly to lower revenue from licenses of Windows OEM and Consumer Office, offset in part by increased Windows Phone revenue. Windows OEM revenue declined $237 million or 7%, reflecting a 22% decrease in OEM non-Pro revenue, offset in part by a 6% increase in OEM Pro revenue. Consumer Office revenue declined $217 million or 23%. These decreases resulted primarily from the impact on revenue of a decline in consumer demand.” They speak about revenue — not income — and moreover they omit the divisions/products that are losing billions of dollars each. Nobody except Microsoft really knows what kind of accounting goes o deepn inside. Even the impact of patent shakedown against Android is unknown; it is hard to confirm that Microsoft even makes money this way. Given how previous Microsoft CFOs were paid millions of dollars to just keep quiet (after former Microsoft accountants had blown the whistle on financial fraud) we might as well assume that Microsoft always does far worse than it publicly admits.

Linux Torvalds believes that Valve’s new GNU/Linux-based operating system will help the platform as a whole on the desktop [1,2]. Richard Stallman too, back when he wrote about this subject, is careful not to judge Valve too crudely. Not even a free-of-charge Mac OSuX is a threat to GNU/Linux in Torvalds’ mind, based on these new reports, so the only barrier/milestone to GNU/Linux as a dominant force on the desktop right now is some additional momentum. Nvidia, for example, thought it could just give Linux the middle finger because not many people used it on the desktop; big mistake! Nvidia was widely shamed when Torvalds gave it the middle finger (it received plenty of coverage and a photo of it in included in one of the articles above) and now that we know how Nvidia intentionally crippled its drivers for Linux we should give it a good boycott. There are plenty of new games announced every week [3-13] and Nvidia’s intentionally-broken drivers (which are also blobs with potential back doors) will only be a barrier. Some try to explain why Nvidia did this [14] while the company releases a new driver [15] and in other Linux graphics news [16], both Wayland [17] and X.Org [18] are very much alive, showing that more than just one display server (there are several now) is needed when Linux goes mainstream, especially in mobile (servers rarely need a graphical front end). The biggest losers here are Microsoft and Apple and judging by current trends (both companies lose share in their key areas) we are heading towards a world of Linux (and often GNU too) everywhere!

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Torvalds gives the thumbs up to SteamOS

    Linus Torvalds has given his approval to Valve’s Linux-based platform, SteamOS, and said it could boost Linux on desktops.

  2. SteamOS could really help desktop Linux adoption, says Torvalds

    This is a familiar refrain that has received new life in recent months thanks to Valve and its efforts to turn Linux into a gaming platform with the Steam client for Linux (shown above) and the Linux-based SteamOS.

  3. ‘Monaco’ Holloween update brings zombies, Blondes, and Linux
  4. The 7th Guest, 11th Hour bundle up for safety on Steam
  5. Here’s your October 24, 2013 Indie Game Bundle Update

    Greetings everyone, for a timely installment of the Indie Game Bundle update. This week, sites are really getting into the Halloween mood. There are 12 bundles to choose from this week, and three get into the spirit of the season by filling themselves with horror games. Of those three, the just released Groupee’s Bundle of the Damned 2 is probably the best bet, because then you get an array of unsettling games, along with a graphic novel and some otherworldly music. Really though, it’s up to you. It’s a good week in the world of indie game bundles, and you’ll find something to amuse yourselves and add to your backlog.

  6. GamingOnLinux Reviews – Trine 2: Complete Story
  7. 7 Days To Die Taken Down From Steam
  8. Trilobyte Games Titles Now on Steam
  9. Battle Worlds: Kronos initiates advance wars November 4

    Battle Worlds: Kronos, the hexy turn-based strategy game funded through a successful Kickstarter, will begin November 4 taking deployment orders to PC, Mac and Linux (Steam and GOG). Updating release windows developer KING Art provided to us at Gamescom, the mobile and tablet versions are now planned for early 2014. The studio previously told us mid-2014.

  10. Forced’s Successful Launch on PC, Linux and Mac

    Danish developer, BetaDwarf Entertainment have officially released Forced on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux. In celebrating the launch this week, the action RPG will be available for a special 20% discount.

  11. War for the Overworld now supports Linux with Bedrock Beta 0.2.2

    The developers at Subterranean Games are “on track for our spooky surprise” by the end of October, as well as extend the deadline on their War for the Overworld-themed pumpkin competition to November 3rd.

  12. Secrets of Rætikon flies to Indiegogo

    And Yet it Moves and Chasing Aurora developer Broken Rules has launched an Indiegogo campaign for its upcoming exploratory action adventure Secrets of Rætikon.

  13. Sweeney and Carmack chime in on Steam Machines

    Valve’s long game could lead consoles to a more ‘enlightened path’

  14. Why did Nvidia cripple its Linux driver?
  15. NVIDIA Releases Major Linux Driver With New Features, EGL

    NVIDIA this morning unveiled their first Linux graphics driver beta as part of the 331.xx series. The NVIDIA 331.13 Beta that was released this morning for Linux systems is quite exciting in that it brings a whole lot of fixes, improvements, and new features. Perhaps most exciting is that there’s finally (but limited) EGL support right now — a precursor for handling Wayland and Mir.

  16. Linux Graphics News

    The X.org Developer’s Conference was held in Portland this September, providing a venue to discuss a range of topics relating to OpenGL, drivers, the X server, Wayland and Mir. Core X.org development has been in a bit of a lull, evidenced by the fact that there wasn’t enough change to warrant a near-term 1.15 release of the server, but this is more than made up by increased progress made in Mesa at implementing OpenGL specifications.

  17. Wayland-Based Hawaii Desktop Is Still Active

    While there’s been a lot of Wayland announcements recently, there hasn’t been much news on the Wayland-powered Qt5-based Hawaii desktop that’s part of the Maui project. Though they have hit a roadblock in their “Green Island” Wayland compositor, the desktop shell continues to move forward with new features and functionality.

  18. The Re-Opened X.Org Server 1.15 Pushes Ahead

    At the XDC2013 X.Org conference it was decided to postpone the X.Org Server 1.15 release until year’s end to let more features land. Keith Packard has now gone ahead and merged some of the new code and issued a new development release.

Latest Leaks Show That Nobody Can Rely on Government/Authority for Privacy, Free Software the Real Remedy

Posted in America, Europe at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Revealing one’s true face (former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin with Merkel)

Vladimir Putin and Merkel
Photo from the Presidential Press and Information Office

Summary: Europe is compromising the privacy of citizens (in secret, using cross-national loopholes), Canada does the same, and why we are left dependent on ourselves and on Free software is we pursue privacy

YESTERDAY’S main newspapers (here in the UK) dared to scrutinise what they called “US spying”, showing their hypocrisy as the UK is the right-man hand in all this. The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).

In Canada, Canadian citizens are suing their government [1] for colluding with the NSA or for spying on Canadian citizens (the collusion enables ECHELON-type loophole exploitation). Here in Europe, Merkel finds herself in a major scandal for selling out 80 million or so Germans [2]. Glenn Greenwald has more leaks coming [3] while the White House and US State Department turn out to have gotten involved in national security leaks [4]. There is a lot of dirty business there and it’s about big money [5].

“The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).”According to French watchdog La Quadrature du Net [6-9], Europe only pretends to care for citizens’ privacy, so it seems like we can depend on no government in the world. Governments loathe citizens’ privacy because without surveillance it is harder for a government to defend itself from citizens, who are clearly perceived as an enemy rather than a kind of client.

What we end up having to do is rely on privacy-preserving software, which is mostly Free software like Mozilla Firefox [10] and underlying platforms such as Linux [11]. Never believe that the government will protect your privacy. The only entity that can protect your privacy is yourself, and having Free software that you and others can control in true transparency is essential for guaranteeing privacy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canadians sue their own government over domestic spying

    American privacy advocates aren’t the only ones taking their own government to court over domestic spying programs. On Tuesday, Canadian activists announced they were suing Canada’s equivalent of the National Security Agency.

    A coalition of Internet and privacy groups represented by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

  2. Merkel spying claim: with allies like these, who needs enemies?

    Is the negotiating edge that secret eavesdropping gives the US worth the immense reputational damage it is now suffering?

  3. Glenn Greenwald and the Future of Leaks

    Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer-turned-journalist-turned-global headline for his reporting on leaked NSA documents, says there is about to be a revolution that will radically change how news organizations cover governments and other big institutions.

    The change, he insists, is inevitable because of the pervasiveness of digital content, which has already remade the global economy by allowing instant access to vast troves of information. “Government and businesses cannot function without enormous amounts of data, and many people have to have access to that data,” Greenwald says, adding that it only takes one person with access and an assaulted conscience to leak, no matter what controls are in place.

    Information that governments, companies, and associations would rather keep private, especially when it contradicts what they tell the public, can be quickly downloaded and spirited away, as shown by the Edward Snowden National Security Agency files and the diplomatic and military files leaked by Army Private Chelsea Manning.

  4. Emails: White House, State Department coordinated with journalist on national security leaks

    White House and State Department officials cooperated extensively on background with a New York Times journalist during the period that he broke confidential national security information in a series of leaks that prompted outrage from lawmakers, according to unearthed 2011 and 2012 emails.

  5. Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State

    Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in the national surveillance state, right along with Republicans.

  6. Reclaim Control Over Your Data!

    Few days before a crucial vote on the protection of our privacy, citizens supported by La Quadrature du Net start a campaign and information website: reclaimyourdata.eu. This site clearly shows the issues of this Regulation and proposes solutions to allow citizens to reclaim control over their personal data.

  7. The European Parliament Must Protect Our Right to Privacy
  8. Data Protection Regulation: La Quadrature’s Voting Recommendations to LIBE
  9. Major Loopholes in Privacy Regulation – EU Parliament Must Stand For Citizens

    The “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee has just voted its report on Data Protection, led by Jan Philipp Albrecht. Despite some improvements, major loopholes – especially on “legitimate interest” and “pseudonymous” data – and the adoption of the secrete tripartite negotiation mandate (trilogue) could make the final text totally ineffective at protecting citizens. During these forthcoming negotiations, representatives of the Parliament should secure strong safeguards for citizens fundamental right to privacy.

  10. Mozilla’s Lightbeam tool will expose who is looking over your shoulder on the web
  11. Firefox OS: What it is – and what it means for you and your union

    Back in 1993 I was asked to look into how unions were using computer networks and email.

    The result was my 1996 book on the labour movement and the internet — and after that, LabourStart.

    Twenty years on and I’ve been looking into how we in the trade union movement use the new communications tools — smartphones and tablets — and the result is a new book I’ve just co-authored with Jeremy Green, “Firefox OS for Activists“.

Descent Into Barbarism: Civil Rights Crushed and Abusive Police Officer Rewarded With Paid Vacation and Compensation

Posted in Action at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Officer John Pike (above) shows that the US system now defends practices such as the above, going even further by mercilessly killing innocent people and never compensating their families

John Pike, the Nazi-looking officer (see his uniform) who famously sprayed students right in their faces (see above video if YouTube does not censor it based on age), is said to have gotten a paid vacation (suspension with salary) and then some compensation [1,2] after this incident. It is utterly disgusting and it’s a spit in the face of these students; it shows that the incident was not the result of some “rotten apple” or some misbehaving officer (or even a bunch of them). The system is actually rewarding these people for such a disgusting behaviour.

According to other interesting reports (mailed to me by relatives in Florida), the US government is now going after investigative reporters using raids [3] and killing grandmothers who mind their own business [4]. No wonder even the drone operators who do this are finding themselves unable to carry on [5].

Those who remain blind to this end of civility unintentionally help normalise such practices, making them be perceived as acceptable (and therefore adequate for more countries to adopt). Freedom and democracy are being sprayed in the face.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The UC Davis Pepper-Spraying Cop Gets a $38,000 Settlement

    Former UC Davis officer John Pike, famous for casually pepper spraying a group of students in the face during a 2011 protest, was awarded a $38,000 settlement for psychiatric injuries for the way he was treated afterwards. Pike, who was eventually fired, filed a workers compensation claim this summer.

    That means that Pike, who walked up to a group of sitting, passive students and pepper sprayed their faces, will get a comparable compensation from the university to that awarded to the students he targeted. UC Davis has also settled with the students actually targeted by Pike’s pepper spray, agreeing to pay out $1 million total to 21 plaintiffs. That breaks down to a bit less per student than Pike himself will get: $30,000 per plaintiff, plus a $250,000 sum for their lawyers to split and a handful of other delegated portions of the award. The university also formally apologized as part of the settlement. Pike’s settlement includes $5,700 in legal fees for his lawyer in the case.

  2. UC Davis pepper-spraying cop gets $38K for disability claim

    Former UC Davis police Lt. John Pike has been awarded $38,056 for psychiatric injuries he claimed to have suffered following a 2011 campus pepper-spraying incident that drew worldwide criticism.

    The university paid out a total of $1 million to 21 activists who Pike doused with pepper spray as they sat in peaceful protest in the university quad.

    Pike, who was later fired, filed a workers’ compensation claim saying he suffered depression and anxiety over the way he was treated in the wake of the incident.

  3. Exclusive: Feds confiscate investigative reporter’s confidential files during raid

    A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August — leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

    In an interview with The Daily Caller, journalist Audrey Hudson revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6. Hudson is a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter.

  4. President Obama & Congress: Why was grandmother Mamana Bibi killed with a drone?

    Mamana Bibi, a 68-year old grandmother, was killed in October 2012 as she picked vegetables in her family’s fields. The US government has not acknowledged her death nor spoken to her grandchildren, some of whom watched the Hellfire missiles hit their grandmother while standing nearby. Urge President Obama to explain why and on what legal basis Mamana Bibi was killed, and urge Congress to initiate an independent and impartial investigation of her death and all other alleged unlawful killings resulting from US drone strikes.

  5. Retired US drone operator tells of the turmoil he feels after killing by remote control

Even If Coverage of GNU/Linux Declines, the Development of GNU/Linux Keeps Its High Pace

Posted in GNU/Linux at 2:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In an underdog’s world, altruistic promotion inversely proportional to the widespread popularity as established brands can market themselves

Colgate

Summary: Distinguishing between the reduced enthusiasm around GNU/Linux and the actual development or maintenance of GNU/Linux distributions

ADVOCACY of GNU/Linux is on the decline as the operating system became somewhat of a household name, a bit like Colgate for toothpaste. Fewer people bother doing this voluntary promotion, perhaps because GNU/Linux no longer need it. The audiocasts which are centred around GNU/Linux are seen as mostly declining, with some that remain active in various [1,2] sites [3,4] that deal [5,6] with specific areas [7-9] (no longer just GNU/Linux as a whole). This is okay and it may be a sign of maturity. There are dozens and dozens of good distros [10] and we no longer to concentrate on the whole or on a few “major” ones collectively.

“Fewer people bother doing this voluntary promotion, perhaps because GNU/Linux no longer need it.”In other news, Barry Kauler retires again from Puppy Linux [11]; long post sheds light on what this means. Patrick Verner, who releases a new version of Parted Magic, makes the distribution non-gratis (must pay to download) for personal economic reasons relating to his family [12]. It’s a good distribution that’s a Swiss army knife for partitioning; some would surely pay for it. I have had it burned for years as it’s a handy tool, still. There are some decent new distros lined up at the scene [13,14], with some beginners’ needs [15] being addressed by the likes of DoudouLinux [16]. Other new distros [17-20] show that there is no crisis in new releases of GNU/Linux distros, it’s just that coverage of them becomes somewhat scarce. They look more modern and advanced than before [21,22]. They promise to keep up with the needs of different users — those to whom the freedom of GNU/Linux permits deviation that answers individual needs.

GNU/Linux does not need to be promoted for the system’s long-term survival. Once upon a time, the term “Open Source” was also on everybody’s lips; now that it’s so mainstream and often the default choice, advocacy around “Open Source” (or Free software. which is in essence the original term) is somewhat unnecessary. The main problem right now is those who fake freedom and “openness” [23].

As one who engaged in very persistent advocacy of GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software for several good years I know that the reason for reducing such activity is that with platforms like Android and RHEL both of the above became the market leader, whereupon the priority became to defend them from patent attacks. Advocacy could then also progress to trying to reduce corruption, promote justice, and spread freedom further than just the software.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Betting on Linux | CR 71
  2. The Ubuntu Situation | LINUX Unplugged 9
  3. Burning Circle Episode 135
  4. Burning Circle Episode 134
  5. Linux Outlaws 321 – You Just Turned This into a Bloodbath

    Settle in for a massively long show as we recap the Linux and security news of the last month or two

  6. Linux Outlaws 320 – A Little Bit Rusty

    We are back in the saddle and tell you everything that happened to us since the show went off the air temporarily

  7. Episode 269: Beagleboard
  8. mintCast 178 – We Tried Hurd To Like It!
  9. S06E33 – Pulp Ubuntu
  10. Dozens and Dozens of Distros: Is It Too Much of a Good Thing?

    Well it was another relatively quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, despite the arrival of a certain Saucy Salamander in town.

  11. Puppy Project in Peril as Founder Retires

    It’s been over a week since Barry Kauler announced his retirement (again) and the Puppy project’s future is now very unclear. Saying Woof and Puppy are now in “maintenance mode,” where essential fixes are made, Kauler stated no new features or releases will be planned. Instead, he’d like to develop for the Ubuntu phone.

  12. Have You Tried Parted Magic?

    In my humble opinion, Parted Magic is simply the best multi-purpose tool-kit anywhere. I know there are competitors if you want to call them that. And they comprise some pretty good tools themselves. But Patrick Verner takes this project to a whole new level. Boot this tool one time and you will see what I mean. The interface is clean, simple and effective. The most used tools are on the desktop and the rest in a simple menu tree categorized by function. Parted Magic will boot on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. One of my favourite features is its ability to run completely in RAM, but has several other boot options. The ISO can be burned to a CD or run from a USB drive. You will find instructions to do both on the website. One more item I like is that the Linux kernel will be very close to the most current release. This one fact should be a clue to anyone that some real work is behind this project and that the kernel will be providing the latest innovations available.

  13. SolusOS: A Linux Distro Stands Its Ground…

    We’ve all heard the term, “Standing on the shoulders of giants.” In the Linux world, it’s more of a rule than an exception. I mean, a lot of Linux distros use another distro to base upon.

  14. Semplice 5 review – High Hopes

    Sometimes I come across a distribution that looks interesting and I want to see how good it is and whether it brings anything new to the table. That’s why I decided to take a quick look at Semplice, a desktop distribution based on the unstable branch of Debian.

    Its name is said to derive from “simple” and that the developers subscribe to the “KISS principle.”

  15. Which Distro Is Best for Beginners?

    So, “what’s the best distro for beginners?” was the team’s question in a recent Open Ballot poll.

  16. Introducing Kids to Linux Using DoudouLinux
  17. Reviews: First look at Tiny Core Linux 5.0

    What it really came down to this week was I used Tiny Core Linux and was very impressed with the achievements of the developers. Tiny Core is about as tiny as we can get and still have a point-n-click interface. The tools all seem to work well and we have easy access to software modules. But, apart from being impressively tiny, there wasn’t much to the distribution. It is a great base, an excellent foundation, I’m sure, for building other things. Tiny Core appears to be less of an appliance and more of a workbench. It seems to be a good workbench — small, fast, flexible and stable — but, as the project’s website points out, this is not a “turnkey” distribution for general purpose use. It’s a small, powerful tool and an interesting experiment in just how small a Linux-based operating system can be while maintaining a friendly interface.

  18. First impressions of Semplice Linux 5

    Semplice Linux is a distribution based on the Debian GNU/Linux project. Specifically, Semplice is built using software from Debian’s Unstable branch. The Semplice developers use the software packages in the Unstable repository and combine them with a custom graphical installer. The project’s website also mentions that the distribution comes with support for encrypted LVM volumes and that Semplice is focused on being fast, light on resources, “rock solid” and elegant. This is accomplished by combining the Unstable Debian base with the Openbox window manager. The distribution is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the ISO provided on the website weighs in at approximately 620 MB.

  19. Distro Astro 1.0.2

    One of the great things about Linux is that there really is a distribution for everybody, even astronomers or folks who would just like to learn a little bit about astronomy. If that’s you then you’ll want to take a peek at Distro Astro 1.0.2. Distro Astro is all about learning about our solar system and the universe itself.

  20. Manjaro 0.8.8 Pre2 Is Now Based on Linux Kernel 3.11.4

    Manjaro 0.8.8 Pre2, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, has been released and is available for testing.

  21. Ramone 0.97
  22. Dax OS 2.0.2
  23. Don’t be fooled by phony ‘open source’

    Companies that try to use some mutant form of open source to generate a contributor network effect are deluding themselves

    A number of attempts have been made recently to define open source models — even new licenses — that limit the freedom of anyone but the project instigator to benefit from the full range of rights to the software. Proponents believe they can generate a “network effect” of adoption and contribution without providing the same software freedoms to all.

    They are deluding themselves.

    [...]

    Newcomers to open source are often astonished to find great, complete, actively maintained software available free of charge. Some assume this is because of the selfless philanthropy of others “giving their work away free.” Some even assume this is naivete on the part of the developers; indeed, one business leader has concluded that the best way to deal with the threat of open source to his business is to be parasitic: “If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it.”

Richard Stallman on Lobbying

Posted in TechBytes Video at 1:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes with Stallman

Direct download as Ogg (00:01:54, 6.2 MB)

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation’s founder, speaks about corporate control of politics


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